Museums and exhibits are great destinations for on the go learning, but they’re also some of the most appealing Web destinations around. Here are some of the best reasons we’ve found why galleries, museums, and collections should be your next online learning destination.
Why Museums Can Excell In Online Learning
Museums represent a central part of urban life in the United States. They’re often a place where people can check in on an old friend or to learn more about your favorite local landmark. These institutions are unique among institutions of higher learning because they draw their revenue from attendees who spend money on souvenirs, advertisements, gift shop items, museum food, and admission tickets. This revenue is necessary to support a wide array of diverse interests including scientific study, artwork, and cultural heritage. The following are strategies for museum leaders to use in online learning that will further their cultural goals and financial sustainability.
Not All Cultures Exist in the Same Way
Another thing that museums should keep in mind when trying to preserve unique aspects of their culture is that many religions—which once defined what a museum was—have other kinds of worship on the side. Similarly, certain traditions do not share certain aspects of their culture with others. For example, the Jewish religion has Sabbath, holidays, and Yom Kippur. This is a system in which festivals are marked by observant people in a set time each year. Islam has different holidays when a person is serving in the military or fasting. These beliefs are different from others and each community has its own social practices related to their tradition. Museums should try to accommodate their history and present one of the many ways that the cultures interact with the rest of the world to create a unique historical museum experience.
Passive Learning Is Not Necessary
Some museums employ education advisors or guest lecturers to pass along history lessons and knowledge to audiences. In addition, some museums offer written programs for students as part of online courses in online education programs. Those of us who study classes, colleges, and universities often discuss the topic of learning independently and the role that schools and universities play in promoting education. It’s true that learning lessons in a classroom or online might encourage greater awareness of a topic and its importance. However, it’s important to remember that a museum or institution can be teaching about something that already exists in our world. If you were planning to create a new event or conference, you can look at historical facts and photos of past events and combine them with new learning methods to create events that will help your organization better address its goals.
Accelerate Commercial Appeal
Many museums in the United States are diversifying their appeal by adding new exhibits and events. In some places, they are opening satellite locations. Such additions and changes allow for a fuller experience and increase revenue opportunities. These museums can choose to be more casual and more academic and perhaps not compete with their physical spaces for students or patrons. The points listed below can also benefit your institution.
Use an O2observer
Many museums are using the Internet to build a sophisticated and unique system for their live webcasts. Such broadcasts allow museums to engage visitors and community members who may be less familiar with their exhibitions or events.
O2observer is an unobtrusive projector that can be used to broadcast exhibits. A programmable panel on the machine can control the color palette, brightness, delay, and clock on the various projectors. This allows museum leaders to have a cohesive view of the show—instead of audiences being greeted by separate panels. It also serves as a partnership platform for museum leaders to control the distribution of their entire collection and thus increase their ability to sell merchandise.
Churches and synagogues have a long history of repurposing buildings for other uses. Don’t be afraid to try it. There is so much misinformation out there about museum use. Some experts actually think that providing rental services will help them better preserve and attract new audiences.
Avenue Marietta, Ohio, operates the Museum of International Pipe Organ Instruments. The organ had been in public use in a building that had been previously used as a Masonic Temple. This changed when they added the doorways to the building to provide more offsite accessibility for visitors.
While some museums are using more of an academic approach to educational support, don’t be afraid to be creative. Experimenting with multiple models for community engagement has proven to work for many well-known institutions.